Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A Bit of Blue

A little surprised to see the bluebirds back already but I'm ready for them - well, I've got two more houses to put up but should manage to get that done tomorrow.  Am a little surprised at the sudden influx of birds.  Glad these little guys were pretty plump when they got here - only a few insects are flying yet.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Common Merganzers

Nice to see more birds coming back - even if they are just passing through.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Snow melt

I found tufts of black hair on the floor this morning.  Think Indy's annual shed has begun.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Wild Turkey

Since I've seen tree swallows, bluebirds won't be far behind. I put out 14 of the birdhouses - taking a circuitous path to reach them. The final two were by the gravel pit which means a hike down through a hay field. That's when I noticed  my hiking boots were rubbing my heels sore. After putting the final birdhouses in place I removed my socks and shoes and started for home barefoot. Walking on the bare ground was easy - nothing is growing yet and the stems left over from last year have been worn smooth by the winds and snow cover. Traipsing through running water from the remaining snow pack was cold but walking soon warmed up my feet again. I took a direct path back to the house which meant finally going through the large drift at the head of Gorgeous Gorge. It was only 20 or 30 feet across and going around would take me pretty far out of my way. So I plunged into it. Not a good idea. The snow was soft from the sun and I went in up to my knees w/ every step - had to use my walking stick in order to pull my foot up and out of each hole I made. Couldn't take my time since my feet were freezing. Once through the snow they tingled the rest of the way home. I'm sitting at my computer w/ my feet in a bucket of hot water now. Life is good.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Morning Reflections

There is a rather large puddle in front of my door.  Comes from the large bank of snow the plow guy deposited there over the season.  This excess water normally either soaks into the soil (can't because the ground is still frozen) or follows the natural lay of the land to the south (can't do that either since the bank of snow is acting as a dike).  The beginnings of a morning chorus while Indy and I took our morning constitutional - some robins, larks, red-winged blackbirds, gold finches, and turkey.  Saw a tree swallow sitting on a bird house as I and Indy drove off to do errands.  Cracked the windows at my various stops since temps are now above freezing during the day.  Errands completed and near noon I would usually stop off at Culver's for a hamburger before driving back home through the hills.  Because of the warmer weather (and I'm reading a book that takes place on the Navajo Res) picked up a burrito at Taco John's.   Figure these are all signs of spring.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Library Display - Historical Society's Kitchen





Attended the local Historical Society meeting yesterday.  Their headquarters is located in the offices of a weekly newspaper that used to be printed in town.  The group only meets from April to September and because this April has been so cold, they met in the town hall meeting room instead of their unheated building.   They have many fundraising activities planned and plenty of  ideas on how to spend that money in documenting and preserving the heritage of the area.  Fortunately, after the meeting, they also found time to put in a display at the library of kitchen devices, containers, and even a cookbook from 1907.   I said they could leave the display in until September and one lady laughed and said OK.  She still uses the some of the old implements 'cause they work better than the new stuff.  "But," she said, "I won't need them 'til autumn anyway."

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Hide and Seek

The news talked about locked pouches people can use to keep their medicine out of the hands of children or strangers.   There are also other pouches where expired or no longer needed medication can be placed that would deactivate it so it so it can be safely thrown away.   Either of these pouches, the news stated, could be obtained free at any library in the area.  I was happy.  The library has had the pouches available behind the front desk for a week but I was having difficulty with how to ask people if they would like a drug bag w/ that book they were checking out.  The day it was on the news  two people come into the library requesting them so problem solved.  Yesterday  I saw the pouches had been moved from behind the front desk to a side shelf.  The librarian explained someone had complained about them being displayed so prominently - guess they didn't think it was in keeping w/ a library's ambiance.  Had another patron complain about a sheriff's notice on the library bulletin board concerning a sex offender recently released and living nearby.  They argued that the man had paid his debt and shouldn't be harassed in this way.  Personally, I think alerting the community will aid this offender by keeping temptation of his way.  He's been jailed for similar offences off and on for 30 years and probably needs the extra help.  I wish the library could be all about life enrichment just as it would be nice if schools only had to worry about educating students.  Often idealism needs to give way to pragmatism.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

First Robin

This morning's constitutional w/ Indy was just down the driveway.  I noticed an odd thing.  There was a strip of bare ground, 20 to 30 feet across, parallel to the highway.  It started 12 feet or so back from the ditch and went the length of my hay field continuing down through my neighbor's field.  A mystery!  Great!  My obvious working hypothesis was it had something to do w/ the road since it followed east along side it.  I looked to the west.  No bare ground.  Difference is that side  I don't hay but leave farrow.   Looked across to the other side of the road.  No bare strip of ground but a ridge of snow where the county plow guy had pushed most of the snow.   Indy and I turned and followed the bare area.  If my guess was right there should be snow just over the hump in the field where a north-south road intersects the east-west road that runs past my house.  Yes!   There was the drift.  Here's what happened.  A couple of storms ago, the snow from the road was plowed mostly into the ditch on the north side causing a berm.  When the winds came sweeping out of the north in the next snow storm they dropped most of the snow they carried when they hit that berm.   Lighter now, they  picked up speed racing across the road and my field.  They scoured the snow from that 20-30 foot area and carried it w/ them to the south.  The tall plant stems in the western farrow area were enough to anchor the snow and slow the winds so no barren strip there.    The drift at the intersecting road was because there would be no ridge of snow to stop the winds - they would still be carrying snow and depositing it as they moved across the field.  I like a good mystery.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Library display - Orrefors


Took Indy into the vet for a yearly exam and to get a Lyme's booster.   The appointment was made in March.  Then there were large patches of bare ground and roadway weight limits had just started while frost went out of the ground.  Since then we've had a number of snow storms and tick season seems far off.    All that snow did help me in procuring the 'sample' the vet's office requested.   The vet gave  Indy a quick once over, gave her the shot, asked if I had any concerns and that was it.  Before leaving I picked up a year's supply of tick repellent and Heartworm medicine.   This morning, though, the vet's office called to say they found Toxidia in Indy's feces.  She could have picked it up from a myriad of sources - even drinking water in puddles on the ground.  The vet said if she showed signs of diarrhea he'd prescribe medicine but otherwise her own immune system would be enough to get rid of it.  I really like this vet and not just because he refrains from referring to me as my dog's "mother."

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Summer is coming

Before this latest storm the deck was completely clear of snow.   Friday afternoon I stopped over at my neighbor's place to get a cup of coffee and some conversation.  Left  when the snow storm started up.   Saturday morning there was a lull in the storm and I took advantage  to get out and visit w/ friend Nancy.  She had a knee replacement recently so, except for doctor and therapy sessions, has been stuck inside.  We spent time talking, then watched a movie, and then an episode of "Say Yes to the Dress".  Not sure why we enjoy it  - maybe it's that bonding experience when we both are yelling at the TV that the Cinderella blue dress the ingenue is trying on will make her look like a whore walking down the aisle.  The snowstorm started up again and I took off for home.  In the Northwoods 'visiting hours' are when the weather allows.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Amaryllis

The amaryllis is blooming again and, while it's bloomed over and over for many years, this was the first time Dunder and Blitzen have seen it.  The flowers will open larger but I wanted a picture before the cats become too curious.  I've weaned the cats off their daily wet food to dry food.  Did decide to give them a nightly treat when I give one to Indy - using it as a teaching moment by also calling them by their names.   It's just possible in the future if I call  they will come running to me - provided nothing else is going on, they aren't sleeping, and it looks like I might have food.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Warm but Windy

Worked the afternoon shift at the library.  Thursday is one of the slower days at the library but it seemed busy enough while I was there.  A group was at the back tables putting together crafts - lots of laughing and giggling.  A man and his son were at the table in the young adults section playing one of the library's board games.  People in and out using the computers or copier.  A little guy - maybe 5 -  wanted to check out some picture books but started weeping when his parent said he needed to take them first to me at the front desk.  I try (usually) not to make men cry so I went around the desk, knelt down to his level and asked if I could have the books.  He handed them over and then followed me back.  I was rewarded w/ a smile on his face by the time he left.  An older lady arrived and asked if I could show her where the Inspirational section was.  Walked her over there and got an invitation to her church before I got back to the front desk.  Another lady dropped off books, picked up some new ones, and then stood a spell at my desk just talking.  She asked my name but must not have recognized the surname. "Is that your maiden name?" she asked.  I laughed and said it's who I've always been.  She reached out and laid a hand on my wrist and said "Bless you".  Not sure what that meant but decided being blessed could only be a good thing. (Ha)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A Patch of Sun

The  question of the week in the paper for this edition was "Did you vote in the Spring Election?"  As I said before, for our municipality it was around 30% turnout.  The news reported that statewide turnout was also 30%.  The response to the paper's question was 70% said they had voted in the recent election.  As w/ most raw numbers that could mean a couple of things.  For instance, do people like to say they are civic minded (even in an anonymous poll) when they aren't?  -or-  Do people that like to take the paper's poll also tend to vote in elections?  However that's not the most interesting part of the paper's question.  "Undecided" garnered 3% of responses  even though the question was asked after the election had already occurred.